Sunday, 29 March 2009

Second Step of Blog Makeover

I have finished the second step of making over my blog.

I think it now looks more alive.. :-)

I am happy with it for now..

First Step of Blog Makeover

Wow! I cannot believe how long it took me to play around with images and colours to pretty up this blog!

Not to mention the self-learning of some HTML and CSS codes. Finally, those 'Pascal' sessions during high school have some use in my life :-)

I know that this is not perfect yet, as this is only my first attempt at blog makeover. I will see whether it hurts my eyes tomorrow..

Please let me know what you think..

Thank you.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Everything Has Its Purpose

Fairies belong in fairy tales
In the shiny colourful forests

Monsters belong in great epics
In the gloomy dark caves

They exist to emphasise on the existance of the heroes
To complement the presence of battles of values

Human mind belongs in the world of reasoning
Matching all actions and reactions

Human heart belongs in the world of conscience
Making sense of all causes and consequences

They co-exist to balance the strength of human instincts
To make up for the limited power of human senses

-28 March 2009-

Friday, 27 March 2009

My Blogspot Makeover Coming Soon.. :-)

I finally found the book that I needed when I was in the book store yesterday, 'Teknik Makeover Blogspot' (in Indonesian), by Dominikus Juju. The Book gives a few examples of little things we can do to our blogspot account to make it look a litter nicer.

I have always thought that blogspot has very good basic templates and I have seen the modified versions that people have. Those modified templates look really good with the combination of Blogspot's original simple but professional look basic template and the individual makeover that makes the blog represents the owner's personality.

The biggest problem that I have is that I don't have any knowledge about HTML or CSS. However, this problem can be solved (in the most basic ways) with a little codes provided in the book. Once I am familiar with these simple codes, I can always learn the more complex ones.

I really like my current template, as it provides the widest post area. However, I would like to try to make some modifications to make it look more 'ME'. All of you are most welcome to give me any comments about the changes that I make.

Have a good day!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

You Don't Need to Be

You don't need to be nice all the time
In fact, I want to see you angry some time
That way.. I know you trust me with your problems

You don't need to be strong all the time
In fact, I want to have a chance to protect you some time
That way.. I know that you feel safe with me

You don't need to be perfect all the time
In fact, I want to see your flaws some time
That way.. I know that you are human just like me..

-27 March 2009-

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Dark Shadow in The Water

The sun feels so nice and the water is very warm. I am swimming with my eyes closed, enjoying the sun as it is warming the water.

As I open my eyes, I see it, dark shadow growing beneath me. I know that I have to swim faster. No, I don't want the dark shadow to catch up with me.

I keep swimming.. faster and faster.. Whatever it is behind me, it is not going to get closer to me..

I try to steady my breathing. Keep my arms and legs move in rhythm. I cannot stop, I cannot have cramp, I cannot drown. I have to survive.

A little more.. Just a couple more breaths.. And I was there, holding on the edge. Away from the danger.

I look into the water. The dark shadow is still there. No crocodile, no shark, no monster. Just a faint mirror image of the clouds..

The water is now still. I am still alone as I look around.. But this is just a pool. Not the river, not the open water..

Ah, no wonder I never swim well..

-24 March 2009-

Monday, 23 March 2009

The Same Things in All Differences

The gestures..

The expressions..

The spoken words..

Often cause misinterpretation..


The look..

The appearance..

The conversation..

Often cause disagreement..


When we see deeper..

Through what is seen in the outside..

Far into the inside..


The heartbeat..

The senses..

The human instincts..

Always tell the same things..


To live safely.. peacefully.. and.. happily..

In balance and harmony..


-23 March 2009-




Saturday, 21 March 2009

If I Had Wings..

If I had wings..

I would have run and taken off


If I had wings..

I would have asked the wind to lift me up


If I had wings..

I would have raced the planes across the sky


If I had wings..

I would have closed my eyes to feel the clouds on my face


If I had wings..

I would have flown to where you are, and kiss your smiling face for the first time..


-21 March 2009-


This poem is for my newborn nephew (my cousin's son) who arrived to this world this morning.. :-).. Rashall Maliki Nugraha..




Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A Beautiful End

Some people are worried about beginnings

Some others about the journeys

And the rest about the ends

I believe that it all comes back to the intentions


When we put aside regret

Or hatred

Or revenge

Love will be found in many forms all the way


The beginning will be as bright as the sunrise

The journey will be as colourful as the rainbow

The end will be as beautiful as the moonlight in a starry night

And love will flow like an endless river..


-17 March 2009-


I wrote this poem as soon as I read a poem of more senior writer in www.blogit.com. The inspirational poem was called 'How The Story Ends' ...


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Day Trip to Ancol Beach

Last Sunday we finally decided to go to the beach, Ancol Beach, to be precise. As it was a long weekend, and Ariq did not have school on the Monday.. so yes, we thought it would be a good time to go on a day trip.

At first we were planning on staying overnight at the hotel as we had a free voucher, but when we called to make a reservation, the hotel was already fully booked for the weekend. So, we stayed at my parents' house instead and planned to have a day trip on Sunday. The kids wanted to go to Fantasy World (Dunia Fantasi), with all the rides and everything.

So, on Sunday, the kids were already excited about going away for a day. It was no problem at all getting them to get up, have breakfast and have a shower. We left the house at around 9.15 a.m. The streets were still empty and we got to the beach in less than an hour! When we anticipated about 2 hours drive.

As it was still early, first we drove to the beach area where we could a traditional boat ride (without engine). The sea was still calm and the waves were low. We were basically making a big circle in the shallow water (not really shallow for my swimming expertise, though). We crossed the path of a jellyfish about the size of fist. The guide/owner of the boat, picked the jellyfish up with a small net and put it in a bucket filled with sea water. It was really a good idea to keep the children on the boat busy and calm during the ride.

The first thing I found out that day was that my 2.5 year-old son had much more confidence than his 6 year-old brother. He would just walk around the boat as if he was walking on a steady surface! I remember his brother when we first took him on a boat ride, he wasn't afraid to hop on the boat, but he would just sit still, not walking around.

After the boat ride, both boys saw the people playing on the beach. They wanted to play on the sand too and get wet in the waves, of course! Gladly, I had thought about the possibility, so I brought a bottle of antiseptic shampoo and body wash, some towels and a few sets of change of clothes for them.

As their dad played with them, I took pictures and videos (don't worry, I will put them up here). They were sooo happy that I was glad I was prepared for this, rather than telling them that they could not play on the beach.

After they were done, and showered, we were ready for lunch. The closest outlet was McDonalds, so, there we went. As we were walking away from the beach, people had just started coming and the place was getting really really crowded. Again, I was glad that we arrived early.

It was about 12.30 when we finished lunch and we were considering going home straight away. Ariq, my 6 year-old however, still wanted to go to the Fantasy Land. After considering for a while, we decided that we wouldn't know when we would be coming to the beach again, so, we thought that we might as well do what we wanted when we still had all day.

So, we went to Fantasy Land. Aza, my 2.5 year-old, had a little sleep in the car on the way from the beach to the Fantasy Land area, due to the traffic inside the beach recreation area. The beach was close to the entrance, while Fantasy Land was towards the exit.

When we finally reached Fantasy Land, Aza woke up. We sat him on his stroller, but once he felt refreshed he chose to walk. First, we went on the merry-go-round, then the giant wheel. After that, we went on the doll palace ride. The doll palace was little kids favourite place, it had dolls dressed in different outfits from cultures around the world and there were songs which the dolls move to. The decorations were colourful and some of them were glow in the dark materials.

After that, Ariq wanted to on Crazy Ball game. The two of us (Ariq and myself) were put inside a balloon that was inflated by air. Then, we were floating on a river for about 10-15 minutes. It would've been cool if the weather was not so hot!

From the Crazy Ball, we went on the mirror house and took pictures with some fixtures outside the mirror house (horse, carriage, etc.), then Ariq wanted to go on the bumper car ride. The one that he could go on was the kiddie one, so he was the only one who could go in there. He went on three times! (Gladly in Fantasy World the ticket was all-in, so we didn't pay for individual games anymore).

While I was waiting for Ariq outside the bumper car ride, Aza wanted to see the carnival. Every weekend the place has a carnival walking around the area. Aza enjoyed it very much.

When Ariq finally came out, it was 5.30 pm and we were ready for early dinner before we drive home. We were thinking about having dinner at the most famous seafood restaurant there, 'Bandar Jakarta', but when we got there, it was really really full!

Next to it was a new restaurant, a Thai restaurant with the steamboat menu. As the place was quite new, it wasn't as busy as the next door place. We decided to give it a try.. knowing our taste buds, hot clear soup wouldn't be a total disaster, even if it didn't taste so well..

We were glad that we chose the restaurant. The fact that it was steamboat, we pretty much did not have to wait for the food to be served. We also could choose a table with a pretty scenery, looking out to the beach. And the kids.. well.. prawn balls, squid balls, tofu, were familiar enough for them to quickly enjoy. Plus, we were tired and starving too. The restaurant, 'Seaside Suki' turned out to be a great choice! Their steamboat was delicious! We finished everything we ordered.

During dinner, my husband's bike riding friends arrived after riding for about 3 hours, from home (which is pretty much the neighbouring town from South Jakarta, while the beach was in North Jakarta). The kids wanted to play on the sand after dinner, so I thought we could give their dad a chance to catch up with his friends.

Once the kids had enough, we still had a set of change for each of them and the restaurant had an outside bathroom that was wide enough to give a child a shower. So, I gave the kids a shower (The kids' nanny came with us that day, and she was having fun while I could still catch a breath with her around). Once we're done, we finally got in the car and drove home.

Aza fell asleep right away, Ariq, however, was still up unti we got home and had all the pictures and videos copied on to the laptop.

What a nice day! I was really tired, but as the kids kept saying how happy they were that day, I really believed that it was worth it!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Take It Easy, Tiger! Enjoy Your Life..

Part 1

"It was a great weekend, Tiger! I'll see you tomorrow at school." That is what Ray always said to me every time we were about to hang up the phone on Sunday nights. He would be referring to the whole weekend. It made me happy every time he said it although I never thought that we ever did much on any weekend.

I was a lead vocalist in a rock band and my band played in various cafes during weekends. I had been going out with Ray, a friend in my class at school, for almost three months. He usually sat on one of the tables in the cafe my band was playing. When my band was not playing during day time, Ray and I sometimes went out to see a movie or have lunch or just hang out on our bikes.

My parents were almost never home. They gave me the most sophisticated phone so that I could use the video call to speak to them, and even have it connected to the television so that their faces would show up in real size. In real life, however, I was always pretty much by myself.

The lack of human interaction at home between Sunday night and Monday morning made Ray's statement was the thing that stayed and repeated in my head until the time I walked into my classroom every Monday. Just like today.

Then, life would start to take its distinct shape for the week, starting from when I experienced the first thing that happened at school on each Monday morning.. Just like this morning..

I knew someone was crying as soon as I walked into the classroom. My real question was, who would be crying in class on a Monday morning, when hardly anything happened yet around school? What could cause the big problem?

"Hi, Shelly!" I quickly recognised the only person sitting in the classroom with teary eyes.

"Oh.. Hi Vega!" as I expected, she reluctantly greeted me back. Of course, who would choose me to see them when they were crying..

Shelly was a nice girl. She was among the girls who never saw me on stage. I guess because she didn't go out much and she didn't talk to me much mostly because noone really talked to me.

Shelly had been going out with Ivan, one of the most good looking guy at school. I always saw her walking up to him at recess and lunchtime, but I couldn't remember him ever coming here to our classroom.

I looked around to make sure that no one else -Ivan, especially- was in the classroom, then I asked her what the problem was, "Are you alright?"

Shelly looked at me for a moment, trying to decide whether she would tell me her story. Then, she must have felt that she needed someone to listen to her, so she started talking, "I wish I could just stay at home and hide from every one. NO! Actually, I wish I could move to another school!"

A few theories came cross my mind but I did not want to make any judgment, "Why? What's wrong?"

Shelly took a deep breath, "I thought Ivan and I were going so well.. I thought that a few hours part-time job on weekend was a good thing.. I thought he would appreciate my decision to try to work for some pocket money.. I guess I was wrong, very wrong! He finally told me that he wished that I had considered him as my first priority and that weekends were meant to be our time together.."

I looked deeply at Shelly, "Then, what happened?"

Shelly gave a long sigh of regret, "My parents don't want me working school nights, which is quite reasonable. I thought I would still be able to spend a good deal of time with Ivan anyway, since my job is only shopkeeping for a few hours.. But now, Ivan gave me a choice, him or my job! I don't want to choose.. but, I guess I will have to.."

I looked at Shelly with mixed thoughts. What should I say to calm her down and cheer her up? I couldn't seem to find anything to say because the exact same thing could happen to me any time and I would not know what to do, or which one to choose..

If Ivan could feel left out when Shelly was only shopkeeping for a few hours on weekends, how about Ray?? I always work, throughout most weekends (we sometimes refuse a job if one of us in not well, or around exam time, or something else, but not often).. mostly we work nights, but we have accepted jobs during day times too.

A boyfriend was not a consideration when I started singing with the band, and cafes started hiring us, but things were different for me now..

How long would Ray be able to tolerate my job? What would I do if I were in Shelly's position.. How would I deal with the pain when it happened?

Part 2

Hmm.. it's not easy to start pulling jokes on people when I arrive a little late at school. I didn't even have a chance to talk to Vega at all. My parents had a free stay at the beach Saturday night, and they suggested to have a picnic lunch on Sunday.

They said I could ask Tom and Vega to join us. I would love them to have them at the picnic and I know Tom would be happy to come, but I don't want to make Vega feel that she is forced to come. I was planning to tell Vega the plan as 'casually' as possible, over a few days, if necessary..

Too bad, I didn't have a chance to talk to her before school started, but, I could always start with cheering things up -for everyone, if not only Vega- on any Monday morning. That would help the process of talking to her later..

Yess.. Vega saw me and grinned when I switched my notebook with Amanda's, when Amanda was talking to Della.

Amanda shot me a sharp look and quickly switched back our notebooks, "What were you hoping to happen, Ray? I started writing notes for you? IN YOUR DREAM!"

I gave Amanda a wide grin, "Can't blame people for trying!"

Amanda stick her tongue out.

I was sure Vega was grinning when that happened, but all other times when I looked at her, she was always very focused on the board in front of the classroom.

Finally, the bell rang. Phew! I could catch up with Vega during recess.. Ooppss.. she was already gone!

I rushed to the cafetaria. I took the quiet alley behind the classrooms. I saw two other students there, Shelly and Ivan. I always wished she knew Ivan's real intentions, making her his tutor by asking her out!

I couldn't tell Shelly, because Ivan never told me in person, I only heard it by accident when he told his friends about his plan, without any effort to be whispering.

"Have you made your decision?" I heard Ivan's voice as I walked past them.

"How could you expect me to make such decision, Ivan?"
I heard Shelly's answer.

I was not looking forward to be in the middle of their discussion, so I quickly walked past them before I ended up being the only person -beside them- in the alley, and was forced to do something if he made her cry..

Ugh, I hate the thought of making a girl cry, but I also hate the thought of having to 'save' a girl from her own boyfriend.. No situation -especially considering the consequence that would follow the initial scene- would suck more than that!


---------------------------------

"Hey! You've been quite busy today!" I quickly walked to Vega's desk as soon as she sat down. End of recess bell would ring in five minutes. I was wondering if I could start the topic of the picnic in that short time.

Vega looked a little surprised, but she also looked happy, "I guess so. I had to retake History quiz from last Friday. I didn't want to do it after school, so I did it at recess."

"No wonder, you disappeared so quickly when recess started." I grinned.

"Yes. I'm sorry.. I didn't have a chance to talk to you about it." Vega gave me a guilty look.

"No problem. How was it, by the way?" I waved my hand telling her not to worry. If it was me, I would have chosen to do the quiz at recess too. It was a short quiz.

"It was alright. I think I did better than the first time round." Her cheeks were blushing.

I remember, last Friday was the first time I asked her if I could pick her up at her house to go to the cafe her band was going to perform for the night. I asked her if we could leave a little early because I was taking her to dinner first. My parents had another plan for that Friday night, so I considered that to be our first date.

I told her about the dinner when were still at school and it turned out that she was excited that she forgot several details for the History quiz although she had prepared all night for it. She told me at dinner that she might have to retake the quiz.

"I'm glad if you passed it. I feel guilty for ruining your quiz last Friday." I couldn't help feeling guilty and flattered at the same time.

Vega shook her head, "It really wasn't your fault. It wasn't a particularly difficult quiz either. I was just being a girl, I guess.." And again, she blushed which made me feel a little nervous to speak again. I couldn't even found a way to bring up the picnic plan..

Then, I was saved by the bell.. and the Math teacher quickly walked into the classroom, as if ordering me, personally, to run to my desk leaving the conversation at a quick, "I'll see you later, Tiger!"

Vega smiled and waved at me.

The teacher caught me still not at my desk, "Ray! Do you need longer recess time?"

By instinct, I answered as quickly as possible, "Not really. It was just a longer route from here to my desk than from the door to where you are standing. And you are quicker.. and physically fitter.. than me." I raised a thumb at the end of my comment.

I could feel the tip of the teacher's pen tapped my shoulder as I went past the teacher, "If you give the wrong answer to the first question, I will be even quicker in giving you 10 extra problem solving questions over the weekend!" And the whole class were either chuckling or giggling, including Vega.


----------------------------------

Finally, lunch time! I hope I could have lunch with Vega.

Wait a minute! Vega is talking to Shelly? Is it something related to Shelly's conversation with Ivan at recess? Should I be listening? Would Vega be upset with me for eavesdropping?

"I really like him, Vega.. But I would really like to work too. This job is pretty good. The sport shop is never quiet and the customers are great. I like working there."

"Then you shouldn't quit your job."
Vega stopped for a second, "I'm not suggesting you leave him either. I mean, you should point out to him that you need him to support your decisions. If he really cares about you, he will compromise."

Shelly nodded and gave a soft smile, "You're right. At least I have to try."

Vega nodded back, "You'll be fine."

I quickly walked towards Vega from behind the door -where I was listening to them-, as soon as she was walking away from Shelly, "Hey! Is she alright? I saw her talking to Ivan earlier today. She looked a bit upset. Did Ivan do something bad to her?"

Vega quickly looked at me, "Were you listening to us?"

I chose to answered honestly, "I have to admit I was curious."

Vega suddenly turned to me with a sharp look on her eyes.

"I'm sorry, Vega! I didn't mean to eavesdrop. If you want me to forget it, I will." I was really starting to regret listening..


Part 3

"Hey! Is she alright? I saw her talking to Ivan earlier today. She looked a bit upset. Did Ivan do something bad to her?"

I quickly looked at Ray who was suddenly walking next to me. I didn't remember seeing him around before.

At first I wasn't sure who he was talking about, but then I thought that it was logical that he saw me talking to Shelly near the classroom door. More than that, knowing Ray, he could've been listening to us, "Were you listening to us?"

He looked back at me, feeling slightly guilty, "I have to admit I was curious."

He WAS listening! He knew what I was saying to Shelly! What would happen now? I should've been more careful!

"I'm sorry, Vega! I didn't mean to eavesdrop. If you want me to forget it, I will."

The guilty look on Ray's face made me realise that I must've looked angry with the way I looked at him, when I didn't really mean to. I quickly shook my head, "No, Ray. It's not that.. But I'm not sure how to explain it to you."

Ray looked at me with a puzzled look on his face, "What is it then? What did actually happen to Shelly? And what does it have to do with you?"

I took a deep breath before answering his questions, "Ivan wanted Shelly to choose between spending time with him on weekends or working part time. He thinks that Shelly working part time on weekend is becoming a problem for them.."

I looked nervously at Ray, wondering what his reaction would be. Strangely, he calmly looked at me, "So.. you wondered, what if the same problem happened to us?"

I nodded in embarrasment then looked down to the tiles of the school cafetaria.

For a while, I felt like I was drowning in the middle of the busy cafetaria. I didn't feel my existence and I didn't try to reach for the surface either.

Then, I felt a hand touched my arm, firm enough to bring me back to reality and soft enough not to hurt me with the grasp, "Vega.. You can tell me. It's alright to talk to me about things like this. I want you to tell me what you think, what you feel. I want to know."

At first, I wasn't sure what I was going to say to Ray. It was after I saw his face that he was honest and sincere with what he said that I finally decided to try to explain my worries to him, "Shelly only works a few hours on Saturdays and Ivan feels that he is being left out. I work weekends, pretty much all night, and sometimes days too. How does that make you feel? I would hate to be making a choice, between you and my job."

After saying all I wanted to say, I looked at Ray, waiting for his response.

Ray finally nodded, "Vega.. Thank you. I'm flattered, really.. you were worried about my feelings! Wow!" He grinned widely.

"Ray!"

"Sorry. I didn't mean to be joking. I wasn't. But, hey! When a rock star chooses a clown as a boyfriend.. Things WERE already different to start with anyway!"

I didn't really believe him. He could be just cheering me up.. And he could read my thoughts in my expression.

"You shouldn't worry about it. Our situation is different. I already knew about your job when I asked you out. I was ready for this situation and so far, I am having a great time. How many guys can sit and have dinner or a cup of coffee watching their girlfriends' band performing every weekend? How many guys can have a famous girlfriend and still have time to spend with other friends or family on weekends? I seriously consider myself a very lucky guy!"

I was very surprised to hear the things Ray was saying. I never thought about our situation from that point of view. Somehow, I started to feel relieved, "Did you really mean that, Ray?"

Ray nodded without hesitation.

"What if one day you are not interested in watching my band anymore?" I nervously asked.

Ray looked at me with a funny expression, "What if you decide to break up with the band before I get bored? Have you thought about that possibility?"

Ray had me thinking from a different point of view again. The four of us had been good friends, but we had agreed from the start that this was our learning phase, and we were prepared for whatever future that might be waiting for us.

I looked at Ray as he looked back at me, "Am I making any sense to you, Tig?"

I softly nodded. I understood that I didn't even know what my future would bring me. This was just a path that I had to walk on. Ray and I didn't own each other, we were not supposed to. If we really cared about each other, then we should give each other enough space to grow.

"Thank you, Ray. I feel much better now."

Ray raised both his thumbs, "Great!" Then, he suddenly looked a little disturbed.

I looked at him with concern, "Is everything alright?"

He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, "Well.. here is the thing. I've been waiting to ask you, if you already have a performance schedule for Sunday lunch time?"

I thought for a second then confidently shook my head, "No. Dion is having a drum competition, so we're having a day off."

Ray gave a sigh of relief, which puzzled me, "Why? Do you have any plan for Sunday?"

He carefully answered, "My parents have a free stay at the beach Saturday night, and they are planning a picnic lunch on Sunday. You and Tom are invited. I didn't want to mess up your band schedule, but I'd love it if you would come to the picnic."

I almost grinned looking at Ray's expression, "When you tell me about any plans early enough, like this, we can still make changes. Thank you for inviting me. I would love to come. By the way.. have you asked Tom? How is he anyway?"

I remember last night Ray told me on the phone that Tom's thumb was stuck in the bowling ball when they were bowling yesterday. The doctor said he should feel better soon, but writing was pretty uncomfortable for him for the time being.

Ray smiled, "I think he is feeling better now. I'm going to bring him pizza after school. Would you like to come?"

I quickly nodded, "Sure. It's a good thing I took the quiz over recess, wasn't it?"

Ray nodded, "Yes, it was." Then after pausing for a second, he continued, "Vega.."

"Yes.. What is it, Ray?"

"We're seventeen and this is high school.. It's the best time.. so, just take it easy, Tiger! And enjoy your life!"

I was smiling widely to him, "You're right! Thank you again, Ray!"

Then, I caught a movement not for from where we were standing. Shelly was walking fast to the direction of the bathroom. Ray saw her too.

Ray quickly looked at me, "I think you should talk to Shelly. She's a nice girl and Ivan thinks too highly of himself."

I looked back at Ray, not sure of what I would say.

Ray smiled, "What you said to Shelly earlier was right and I guess she listened to you."

I smiled. Ray was not like Ivan at all. Ray might be a clown, but he believed in personal space -despite his ealier eavesdropping-, friendship and a balanced life. Ivan might be one of the most good looking guy at school, but he thought less about other people's feelings..

Ray was right. We were different. A moment later, I could feel Ray tapped my arm, and I turned to him, "What is it?"

"I guess I was wrong before. You don't need to chase Shelly. Here she comes."

When I finally caught her sight, she was already close enough to speak to me, "I don't want to waste my time for someone who doesn't care about me, Vega! It hurts a lot, but I guess it's better that it happens now than later!"

I looked at Shelly and repeated some of Ray's words, "We're only young once! So, just enjoy it!"

I hugged Shelly and she hugged me back as she whispered, "Thank you, Vega."

Well, I guess, I can have friends too. Tom, Shelly.. and of course.. Ray.

- 10-11 March 2009 -


Thursday, 5 March 2009

Sweet Seventeen, Tiger!

What is he doing? Why is he hiding behind the tall bushes.. with his 'sidekick'?! Are they planning to make a joke on me? Let's see if I can make a joke out them first..

I casually left the grass I was sitting on and make a walk to the other side of the bushes. Silly of them, they did not realise what was happening at all. The cat fight between the two self-crowned queens, Rika and Mayang, must have distracted their focus.

"Why are you standing behind me?" I asked loudly as soon as I was standing right behind the school's two clowns, Ray and Tom.

Both guys jumped to my voice. Ray was quicker to respond, "Vega! We weren't.. I wasn't.. well.. it wasn't.."

I nodded several times pretending to be waiting for him to explain himself, which I really wasn't. I was just enjoying watching his panicked expression.

I turned to Tom, ".. and You?!"

Tom started to look back at me with confused eyes, not being able to find the answer fast enough, his mouth was opened, but nothing came out of it.

I took a deep breath and exhaled. I really didn't intend to scare them. I always liked to see Ray's expressions every time he made jokes, or someone was actually successful enough to pull a trick on him.

We weren't really best friends or anything, well.. I never tried to be best friends with anyone, really..

I think every student in this school thinks I'm a freak.. a tough girl.. the lead vocalist of a rock band who spends weekends singing in places where ever her band gets invited to play and get paid for staying on stage for a few hours.

Some of the girls have seen me in a couple of our regular places, and I was always in my stage outfit, strands of my hair highlighted red or dark purple and my make up was shades of dark colours. At first I would wave and say 'hi', but after a few times getting forced smiles, I decided they would prefer not to be noticed by me. So, I started to not noticing..

But in Ray's case, it was somehow different. It was as if he was just every where, all the time..

I knew that I had to do something, right there and then.. before I lost the moment..

I gave a quick wave to Tom, telling him to go away. Then I turned to Ray, not absolutely sure what I was going to say to him.

I looked at him to reassure myself that I really wanted to do this.

Ray looked back at me with a puzzled look, "What? You got us! Now what?"

I shrugged. I seriously did not know what I was doing. I did not even understand why I wanted him to stay there.

Ray looked much calmer than a couple of moments ago when I startled him.

"I just wanted to know why you were standing behind me. You did the same last week too. I thought you were planning a trick on me, but you never took this much time planning tricks on other people."

Ray suddenly looked down to the grass and started kicking some grass with his right foot. I noticed that when he looked up to look at me, he looked worried.

"What is it? Did you hear anything about me and started an investigation?"

Ray shook his head slowly, "No."

Then, it was my time to be puzzled, "So, what is it then?"

"I was not planning a trick on you. That's the truth."

I nodded and smiled, "I guess I knew that."

Ray looked at me again, "Then, why did you jump on us, and told Tom to go while keeping me here?"

Ah.. I understand now.. Ray is cute - I think - although most girls think of him only as a clown.

I liked him. I did't feel like a tough girl when talking to him like that.

"I think I like you, Ray.."

Ray looked at me with both eyes wide opened, "What?? Are you serious?"

I nodded, "I am not playing a trick on you. Serious."

Ray suddenly looked nervous, "Well.. that was the same reason I was standing behind you."

I could feel my cheeks blushed.

Ray looked at me, "You are not going to be angry, are you?"

I smiled widely, forgetting to answer his question. Then, I suddenly remembered, "It's true what the kids are saying.. I play with my bands with strange outfit, make up and hairdo."

Unexpectedly Ray laughed, "I know. I saw you last Friday. I was having dinner with my parents. They think you have strong voice, and I agree with them."

My mouth feel open, "Whatt?? How could I not see you? Did you tell your parents who I was?"

Ray grinned and nodded, "I told them that you were in the same class with me and that I liked you."

I stared at him in shock. No way I would've done what he did, if I were him! Telling his parents that he liked me.. when I was dressed for stage? But I was curious of his parents' reaction.

"What did they say?"

He grinned again, "They said you were energetic, expressive and cute, like a tiger cub. Well.. we are going there again tonight. It's Friday today, and your band will be there again tonight, right?"

I slowly nodded. I couldn't feel my joints. Tonight was still hours away, and I was already panicking..

Ray waved his hand to calm me, "It will be alright. You were great, you know!"

I could only look at him feeling helpless..

I jumped when the end of recess bell rang.

Ray started walking, "Let's walk back."

Suddenly, I felt the need to clarify something with him, "Ray, wait!"

He turned around and looked at me, "Yes.."

"Were you going to ask me out, or did you only want to tell me that you were standing behind me because you liked me?"

Ray gave me a kind smile with sparkles in his eyes, "I was under the impression that we agreed to be going out already.. am I wrong?"

I could feel that I was blushing again.


-------------------------------------


As usual, on Friday nights the cafe was full. People just wanted to relax after a full week of work. Our style of rock is nice enough to entertain tired minds.

I sat in the performers' waiting area with a glass of water on the table in front of me. Dion, the drummer tapped my hair with his drum sticks, "You're not sick, are you?"

I shook my head, "Nope. I'm just getting ready for public humiliation and losing job, if I mess up our performance tonight."

Rudy, the guitarist and Alan, the bassist, looked at me in surprise at the same time, "What's wrong?"

I shrugged, "Ray asked me out this afternoon at school. He is now sitting with his parents for our performace. They were here last Friday and they liked me."

Dion, Rudy and Alan looked at around at one another, then they looked at me, "So.. what's the problem? You should be happy, not mournful.." Rudy asked me.

"I'm nervous! That's the problem!" I looked at them one by one with truly nervous feel in my heart.

The three of them quickly patted my shoulders.

Dion nodded in confidence, "You'll be fine!"

Rudy added quickly, "And be the star, as always.."

Alan, the quietest finally spoke, "You will feel different, as soon as you step on the stage. You will OWN the stage and the audience."

I took a deep breath.

At the same time, the cafe's keyboardist, who had pretty much become a part of our band, came into the room and announced that the stage was ready, "OK, guys, let's start the night!"

As soon as I stepped on the stage, one of the waitresses handed me a piece of song request paper. I held it as I greeted the cafe's guests.

Then, I looked at the piece of paper and read it, "You'll be great, Tiger! And.. Sweet Seventeen for tomorrow!"

Rudy quickly took the piece of paper from my hand and whispered my favourite song to the others, who nodded in agreement.

Then, Rudy walked to my microphone, "Ladies and Gentlemen, let us open the night with Vega's favourite song for her birthday tomorrow, as requested by, Ray, the boy of her dream who is sitting up there with his parents. I'm sure the song is one of your favourites too.. Ladies and Gentlemen.. Eye of A Tiger.."

I bowed once to the audience and then once again to Ray and his parents. They smiled and waved at me.

Alan was right. I felt different right at the time I stepped on the stage.

This stage is my world and I belong here. Singing flawlessly happens naturally on this stage.

Mum and Dad can be on business travels as often as they want.. I know that they love me, they just cannot change they way they live their lives..

I don't have to worry now, though. For the time I'm not at home or school, and not playing with my band.. Because now I have Ray to be with me..

-06 March 2009-

Bugs (1).. The First Day..

Francis was a high school student who had just had his driver's license. He always wanted to have a car that he could drive anywhere he wants, but his dad's saving was only enough to buy him a secondhand car.

Francis was not disappointed. He said to his dad that as long as the car was in good condition he was happy. So, they went to a car dealer to look for a car. The best choice they found was a VW Beetle that looked like it was well taken care of. The manager said that the owner moved overseas.

Even though Francis did not expect to have a VW Beetle, he felt that he really liked the car. He told his dad that the car would be fine for him. His dad was glad that Francis was not being difficult and understands their situation.

Francis touched the car with his palm, admiring the shiny dark-red colour. He said to the car, "We're going to be good friends and we're going to have adventures!"

Then, Francis jumped, as he saw the headlights were blinking. He quickly looked at the manager, "Is something wrong with the headlight?"

The manager replied, "Nope. I checked everything. I even drove it to test it. Nothing was wrong."

Francis sat on the driver's seat and started the car, then he turned the head lights on. They worked fine. He thought he must have seen wrong. How could a car's headlights blink on their own?

After paying for the car, Francis' dad looked at Francis' happy face and said to him, "I think you would prefer driving it home yourself than waiting for it to be delivered."

Francis quickly agreed, "Yes, Dad. I would."

Francis' dad answered quickly while walking back to his car, "Drive behind me and be careful!"

Francis quickly nodded, "I will, Dad!"

Then, they both drove out of the car dealer.

-------------------------------

The night was quiet when Francis arrived home. He just came back from the cafe where he and his friends usually hang out on Friday night. He wanted to show his new car to his friends.

He slowed down when he reached his street. He said to his car, "My friends like you too, you know."

Then Francis spoke again, "I've been thinking about a name for you. The word 'Bugs' keeps coming to me. Well, you are a Beetle, but I don't want to call you 'Beetle'. What do you think about Bugs?"

Suddenly, the headlights were blinking again. This time Francis did not jump, "There could be something wrong with your cables, but I don't know what it is yet. Just, don't die on me, OK!"

Francis slowly parked Bugs in front of his house, and walked out, "I'll see you tomorrow, Bugs! I'll give you a wash in the morning."

Then it was all quiet.

Until nearly dawn, when things suddenly became noisy in the quiet little street. Lights were blinking and the sound of car horns were heard loudly every where.

Francis woke up and looked out of his window, at the same time with his parents. He heard his dad called out, "Francis! It's your car!"

Francis quickly run outside to his car. As he was nearing the car, he saw a glimpse of very fast movement behind the bushes, and he saw someone was running towards the next street.

Francis quickly opened Bugs' door and check the dashboard. As soon as he touched the steering wheel, all the blinking lights and car horn sounds stopped.

Francis looked really amazed and asked unconsciously, "Did you do that, Bugs? Did you make the thief run away?"

Bugs' headlights blinked.

Francis looked at his car with wide eyes, "Wow! You are really an amazing car! I hope you like adventures too."

Bugs' headlights blinked again.

Francis tapped Bugs' window frame gently, "Go back to sleep, Bugs! I've got school tomorrow."

------------------------------------

Francis walked into the kitchen where his parents were having breakfast, and quickly prepared his.

Francis' dad asked him while keep reading the newspaper, "Was something wrong with your car last night?"

Francis shook his head, "Didn't look like it. I saw someone running away, maybe a thief and maybe he touched something on the car and caused a short circuit or something."

Francis' mum looked at her son, "Maybe you should take it to a service centre."

Francis nodded, "Maybe, if it keeps doing that, but for the time being, I think it's fine."

Then, as he finishes his breakfast, Francis quickly kissed his mum on her cheek and tapped his dad on the shoulder, "Bye Mum, Dad. I'll see you later!"

On Francis' mind, he has started thinking about all the journeys he could take with Bugs. Bugs was a great car and Francis knew that it was going to be his best friend too.




Silence

Would you give me one second..
Just to let me breathe

Would you stay patient for a minute..
Just to let me think

I am not angry..
I am not disappointed..

Not really.. seriously..
I just really need the silence..

To understand what's happening
To find out what I am really thinking

To acknowledge that my mind still works
To believe that I still exist

-05 March 2009-


Life Achievement

I shake my head and bite my tongue
I hold my breath and blink my eyes
To distract my thoughts..

Calming my heartbeat and my heated mind..

I open my clenched fists and feel my fingers
I count my breathing and smell the scent of fresh dew
To gather my thoughts..

Focusing on my visions and intentions..

I take a deep breath and close my eyes
I feel the flow of my mind and feelings
To direct my thoughts..

Leading them to where they should be going..

The future..
The bigger picture of all separate events put together..
The result of the struggle I have been in for..
The achievement in the life I have been determined to succeed..

-05 March 2009-


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Ariq's Herbie Stories (Introduction)

Ariq always wants me to tell him 'scary' stories (sometimes he wants some funny ones too) at night. I can't remember exactly how, but one night, I remember one movie the we used to have (when we still needed to use wall-projector to play movies).. The movie was Herbie, the car that could move by itself..

So, now, I have to make up a new Herbie story each night.

I'm really hoping I can come up with a new name for the car (that Ariq would agree to), so that I don't have any legal issues!

Anyway.. I will share with you all the stories I have come up with.


Monday, 2 March 2009

At The End of The Rainy Season

When I opened my eyes this morning
I realised that rainy season was ending very soon

I missed waking up to the bright morning
I missed walking under the warm sun
I missed the feeling of being alive

This morning came as a note
That the rain was not going to fall today
That the sun would be smiling happily all day
That the day would be glowing brightly

Human's heart is not strong
It changes with the seasons

It happily welcomes the coolness of the drizzles
At the beginning of the rainy season

Then it excitedly cheers the bright sunshine
At the beginning of the dry season

But human's heart is not weak
As it lives on throughout the seasons

It sparkles with each raindrop
As much as it shines with every sunlight

-02 March 2009-

Welcome.. dry season.. :-)


Aza Really Missed Swimming..

All through rainy season, Aza kept asking me to go swimming, which I kept refusing because of the weather.

This morning, the sun was shining brightly, so after Ariq was dropped off at school, I thought, it would be nice to take Aza for a swim.. (which made him excitedly jumping around the house!)

We quickly got ready, and left the house for the swimming pool.

Here are the videos of Aza having a great time :-)

video



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